Newry rail services back on track
Tuesday, 28 February 2017
SDLP MLA Justin McNulty has provisionally declared himself pleased with the increase in train services in Newry but said he has adopted "a wait and see approach".
Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard announced last week that there will be more train services at Newry Rail Station, which was greeted with widespread enthusiasm and are set to commence in the summer.
Mr McNulty said: "I welcome the news, it's good for rail services and it's good for Newry. However, I will adopt a wait and see approach at this stage.
"I want to see the detail of the timetabling, the number of carriages involved and if we have just been added on to Portadown's schedule.
"Of course, these additions can in no way substitute for the much promised hourly Enterprise Service from Belfast to Dublin. This is something that I hope can and will be progressed during the next Assembly.
"Over the last eight months, I have pushed the Minister from the position where he wasn't even asking officials about the Belfast-Dublin rail service to now announcing additional services.
"I have asked many Assembly Questions, raised it during debates and have been working with local people on a petition urging the Minister to act."
The introduction of additional morning, evening and weekend services was hailed as a significant move towards providing the city with the type of first-class rail service that matches the huge investments made at the station.
Minister Hazzard said: "When I came into the post just eight months ago I was determined to invest in improving our rail infrastructure and accelerating the growth in passenger numbers right across our public transport systems."
Outlining the additional services, Mr Hazzard also said there was a possibility of an additional Newry-Dublin service: "I have decided to introduce additional morning services to Belfast at 6.30am and 7.30am, and an additional evening return service to Newry from at 6.20pm. There will now also be a late evening service from Belfast to Newry at 10.10pm.
"On a Saturday there will be an additional morning service from to Belfast at 7.45am and evening returns to Newry at 5.30pm and 10.10pm.
“We have also discussed with Irish Rail the option of extending their 5.20pm Dublin/Dundalk service to Newry which would give an additional Dublin service to Newry at a peak time. I am very confident this service will be agreed in the weeks ahead."
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